COLUMBIA, Mo. –“You Can’t Dream Big Enough,” a book by legendary agribusiness broadcaster Orion Samuelson, goes on sale Nov. 1.
Samuelson announced the book Oct. 15 during the inaugural Jerry Litton Lecture at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). During his visit to the Columbia campus, Samuelson ate lunch at the University Club, sat in on Jon C. Simonsen’s class, visited the agriculture school and ate a meal prepared by culinary arts students. In every student contact, Samuelson said he saw the making of leaders.
When he was sitting on a three-legged milking stool in a Wisconsin dairy barn, Samuelson said, he would never have dreamed that he would travel to 44 countries, meet seven U.S. presidents, dine at the White House with country music legend Glenn Campbell, and meet Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Cuban President Fidel Castro.
But CAFNR students should dream, and dream big, he said. He noted that most of the students in the Monsanto Auditorium where he spoke would likely fill jobs in careers that have yet to be invented. Students must not only dream big, but they should work hard, he said. “Great leaders are hard workers who are never completely satisfied,” he said. “The world is waiting for you.”
During his six decades in the broadcast business, “Big O” Samuelson said he had been encouraged to write a book, and his 400-page hardcover book will chronicle his humble beginnings to his Hall of Fame career. The book salutes the men and women who “put food on our tables, roofs over our heads and clothes on our backs.” He said he plans to write a second book.
Samuelson peppered his speech with humorous anecdotes and grandfatherly advice. He told students to write their own books and include chapters on family, faith, leadership, bumps in the road and leaders and mentors who inspired them.
“Pick your own heroes,” he said, and listed his top inspirations: 1. The late Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist and Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been called the “father of the Green Revolution”; 2. Harold Brock, designer of the famous Ford 9N tractor and the John Deere 4020; and Abraham Lincoln, whose presidential legacy includes the Homestead Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Morrill Act, which allowed for the creation and support of land-grant institutions such as the University of Missouri.
Samuelson credits his own “bump in the road” as the inspiration for his radio career. He attended a country school and had looked forward to high school when he was incapacitated for two years with a bone disease. His vocational agriculture teacher took his lessons to him and continued to encourage him. “My vo-ag teacher did more to change my life than anyone except my parents,” he said.
Through public speaking opportunities offered through FFA and 4-H, Samuelson developed a love of the spoken word, a passion that would lead him to broadcast school.
He said his two-year illness taught him to adapt to change, a message that he frequently voices in farm broadcasts as one of the lessons of life. “Change is part of your life,” he said. He also warned students to “Never evaluate a happening when it’s happening. Give it some time.” He said it is important to find something that you like to do so well that you would do it for free. And when you do it well, people will be willing to pay you for doing what you like well enough to do for free, he said.
Information on Samuelson’s book can be found at http://www.BigOBook.com.